Tag Archives: may

A Study in Emerald

A quick conflation- emerald is May’s birthstone, and today is was the last episode of BBC’s Sherlock on PBS. Who knows how long until the next one. So I’m letting some fangirl out. (And going to go read The Adventure of the Empty House for meagre consolation.)

Neil Gaiman’s brilliant A Study in Emerald is a fun mix of Doyle‘s world and Lovecraft‘s mythos is available on his website. As a bonus this version looks like an old fashioned newspaper. Very fun!

A quirky collection of emerald Cthulhu and Sherlock themed crafts in honor of May’s birthstone and Gaiman’s story. (Yes, the comma was left out intentionally, they’re all emerald colored pieces!)

 

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An emerald, how beautiful!

May’s traditional birthstone is emerald. It seems like a wonderful option for the northern hemisphere, rich green just as the buds are unfurling into proper leaves.

Emerald is a type of beryl. (From aluminum beryllium silicate.) The word itself comes from the Greek for green stone, and probably did originally refer to most green stones. The stone has been known since ancient times, the Greeks and Romans used them and made fakes out of glass, as did the Egyptians. Cleopatra was said to have emerald mines among her vast wealth. (And there is some evidence that that is truth rather than rumor.) Probably the most beautiful emeralds I’ve ever seen were in ancient jewelry in the British Museum. I later years the Spanish plundered large quantities of emeralds from the New World as well as their hauls of gold and silver.

The trace elements chrome and vanadium both make beryls green, but traditionally only beryls colored green through traces of chrome are considered emeralds. Gemologists are still debating if a vanadium green beryl is a true emerald. (The authors of my assorted books all disagree with each other as well. It sounds like there isn’t an official decision if gems are to be classified by color or by chemistry.) Emeralds are one of the few precious stones where inclusions are expected, a too clear gem is considered suspect. Inclusions are euphemistically called jardin– french for garden- reflecting the shape combined with the color of the stone. (Probably my favorite euphemism for flaws…) Some translucency is a plus, and the deeper greens with a hint of blue are the most valuable.

The classic emerald cut was designed to reduce the fragile spots on the stone, since they are sensitive to knocks.

A movie moment in honor of emeralds and their fascinating color. Gigi learns about jewelry from her aunt, and to look for that hint of blue that makes an emerald so stunning. (And also a nod to Mother’s Day. The ‘topaz, among my jewels, are you mad’ line is a running joke with my mother…)

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Filed under Gems